Routt County Pioneer Picnic moved up |

Routt County Pioneer Picnic moved up

Luke Graham

— The annual Routt County Pioneer Picnic has been moved up this year in hopes of increasing participation.

The picnic, which usually is held in June or July, has been moved to May.

This year’s event — the 110th — will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 25 at the Hayden Heritage Center Museum.

“We moved it up because a number of people are coming into town for the Hayden School Reunion,” said Laurel Watson, the curator for Hayden Heritage Center Museum. “It will be good to have it at the same time. With the pioneer family in town at the same time, it will be a bigger draw.”

The Hayden School Reunion will take place May 24 at the Haven Community Center, and all classes that graduated from Hayden Union and Hayden High School are invited to attend. Watson said organizers hope to have 1936 graduate Fred Schaefer Meyer in attendance this year.

The May 25 picnic potluck begins at noon, and guests should bring a side dish or dessert to share. A main dish and drinks will be provided.

Local historian Paul Bonnifield will be the guest speaker, and he will talk about an aspect of local history.

In addition, there will be children’s events and face painting. The event is free.

“It’s open to everybody,” Watson said. “We’re trying to get more people and more younger people. Lots of people think it’s just for pioneer families. It’s for anybody interested in the history.”

The picnic first was held in 1886 and brought in pioneers from across the county.

According to Watson, by the early 20th century, residents wanted to preserve the tales from the early pioneers in the area.

In 1904, the Pioneer Association was formed to hold yearly picnics and preserve the stories.

By the 1930s, the group was limited to pioneer families. Eventually, the association disbanded, and the picnic became an event put together by pioneer families and open to the public.

The picnic rotates throughout the county every two years and is open to anyone.

For more information, visit

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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